Understanding of global mean sea level during past interglacial periods has greatly improved, but many challenges remain. By using coastal records and oxygen-18 proxy data, Dutton et al. (2015) determined global mean sea level and the contribution from polar ice sheets during three past interglacial periods. Although the results were uncertain, it was determined that global mean sea level was higher than modern day levels in every interglacial period studied—the mid-Pliocene warm period 3,000,000 years ago, the marine isotope stage (MIS) 11 400,000 years ago, and MIS 5e 125,000 years ago. Previous findings were corrected by taking glacial isostatic adjustment (the adjustment of the earth for a long time after a period of deglaciation), dynamic topography, and ice sheet reconstructions into account. Continue reading →
The movie Interstellar introduces the idea of food scarcity due to climate change as a valid fear. A modern dust bowl prevents farmers from cultivating essential, staple crops. Famine has become more common around the world in recent years, but areas with advanced infrastructure are more adept at handling tough conditions. In Sub-Saharan Africa, one of the least developed areas of the world, changes in aggregate production will put residents in danger. A recent paper by Wolfram Schlenker (2010) looked to see if the current state of African agriculture is as deprived as predicted. The researchers discovered that the environment in Sub-Saharan Africa is becoming worse every year. Without the proper care, it will become harder to produce copious crops, if any.
Although global climate change is a well-documented phenomenon with severe implications for the future of our planet, environmental issues are often paid little attention by politicians and laypeople alike. Other issues like the economy or job security are viewed as top-priority concerns, even though continued damage to the environment could potentially endanger the human race. Small changes in our everyday lives could make a significant positive impact, but many people are not concerned enough about the environment to make a change. Continue reading →